How to Send a Canned Response in Gmail

Send a Canned Response in Gmail

Why type again what once you typed in so articulate a manner? Find out here how to send a canned response in Gmail (and use a message template for a new email as well).

First, Citius, Altius Apibus

When a swarm of bees leaves for a new hive and home in spring, most of them have no idea where they are going.

This can be witnessed with thousands of them going in random directions in the lower rungs of the swarm. Higher up in the swarm, some bees seem to know the way, though, and lead by going faster. For these “streaker bees” (apibus in Latin, the ablative plural of apis, bee), it’s citius (faster) and altius (higher) to lead the way.

Now, want to go citius, too, and send email replies almost at the speed of an apis in Gmail?

How to Send a Canned Response (or New Template Email) in Gmail

Time needed: 1 minute

To use a template to start a new email or send a canned response in Gmail:

  1. Enable email templates in Gmail and create the desired email template for the canned reply.

  2. Put the text cursor where you want to insert the canned response template text in your new message or reply.

    Replying: When you start a reply, Gmail already has put the cursor just where you would typically start writing your answer, so you need not do anything.

  3. Click the More options button (three dots) in the composition window or pane’s toolbar.

  4. Select Templates from the menu followed by the template you want to use (under INSERT TEMPLATE at the top).

    Send and Reply Faster with Canned Email in Gmail

How to Send a Canned Response in Gmail: FAQ

Will the template text overwrite what I have already typed?


When you insert an email template or canned response, Gmail inserts it where the text cursor is. As far as the email text is concerned, it works exactly as if you had pasted text copied from a template (in a text file, say).

Will the canned response overwrite the quoted text in the reply?


Any quoted email will remain intact when you use a template in Gmail.

Can I make the template overwrite text?


To replace text in an email with a Gmail template’s:

  1. Highlight the text you want to replace.
  2. Insert the canned response. (See above.)

Will inserting a canned response change the email’s “Subject” line?

Using a canned response in Gmail will only change the subject line if it is empty.

So, to use the subject from the template, do delete any text in the Subject: line first.

Can I use more than one canned response in an email with Gmail?


Insert as many email templates as you like. You can, of course, insert the same template more than once as well.

An alternative to signatures: Since you can set up as many templates as you like and insert them wherever you like, they make for an alternative to Gmail signatures.

Can I use email templates with Basic HTML Gmail?

No, basic HTML Gmail does not support email templates.

(You can copy and paste from any text swipe file, of course.)

Can I use email templates in the Gmail apps for Android and iOS?

No, the Gmail apps do not support Gmail templates from the web-based desktop version.

You can open Gmail’s desktop version in a mobile browser, of course, or rely on smart compose.

(How to send a canned response in Gmail tested with a desktop browser; first published June 2020, last updated March 2024)

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